Huanghuali copper mounted carrying casket
China, 19th century
A huanghuali casket of upright rectangular form, with a fall-front, lockable panel. The top mounted with a large and heavy bail handle, fixed in between two metal bosses that have circular base plates worked in openwork with key-fret pattern and with two metal plates at the top. The corners of the box are fitted with elaborate copper mounts. The front panel has a shaped copper pull handle emanating from a rectangular copper panel crafted in openwork with Shou symbols and has a mount around the lock. The interior of the casket is fitted with compartments and a drawer at the bottom.
It is likely that the present casket was especially made is to accommodate a large seal in hardstone, examples of which were often seen at this period. The copper mounts are very fanciful and contrast prominently with the wood. The mounts give the casket the impression of being very strong. The two metal plates at the top stop the wood from getting scuffed if the handle is folded.